Thursday, May 18, 2017

Menthya Hittu


I am really not sure why this spice mix is called Menthya hittu. That's because only one to two tea spoons of Menthya aka fenugreek seeds go into this powder. Given it's inherent bitter taste, Fenugreek seeds may not be a favorite with everybody. However, the addition of small quantities of fenugreek to condiments and curries only enhances the flavor and aroma of the dish without making it bitter. So if you are not a huge fan of Fenugreek seeds, I assure you this condiment is sure to convert you.


The menthya hittu or the methkoot is basically a healthy amalgamation of Lentils, grains, seeds and spices. This is one condiment that is loaded with proteins and nutrients. Just add a teaspoon of this powder over hot rice, top it with ghee and a dash of lime juice and you will have an instant, delicious rice dish in front of you.


As I am writing this post, I am involuntarily transported back to my childhood days. Since I was a fussy eater, I would refuse most of the vegetables. But I would never refuse the menthya hittu. The gojju made out of menthya hittu was, and still is my favorite way of eating this condiment. Just give me some rice or rotis with the menthya hittu gojju on the side and I am good to go. 


This condiment, is very fine in texture when compared to other chutney pudi's. This is why this condiment is referred as hittu (flour) and not as Pudi (powder)

The menthya hittu is a handy thing to have around. Since it is so versatile, it can be used to make at least four different dishes. Each, tasting different than the other. 


This condiment is very easy to prepare. All it needs is a little care when roasting. The ingredients should be slow roasted on low heat to avoid burning. The list of ingredients might seem a little too long and intimidating. However, these ingredients are pantry staples in every Indian kitchen. 

Making this spice mix at home has been a happy trip down the lanes of both, memory as well satisfaction. After making this, I realized that nothing can be compared to the punch of a freshly ground home made spice mix.  


Menthya Hittu recipe:
Preparation time: 10min
Cooking time: 20
Makes- about 500gms

Ingredients:
Channa dal- 1/2 cup
Urad dal- 1/2 cup
Moong dal- 1/2 cup
Toor dal- 1/2 cup
Rice- 1/4 cup
Whole wheat grains- 1/4 cup
Jeera- 1-1/2 tbsp
Coriander seeds- 1 tbsp
Black pepper- 1tspn
Fenugreek seeds- 1-1/2 tsp
Turmeric or haldi- 1/2tspn (optional)
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Oil- 1/2tspn
Dry red chilies- 3-4
Asafetida- 1/4tspn

Method:
  • Heat a thick bottomed pan and dry roast each dal separately. Make sure to keep stirring to avoid burning. Transfer the ingredients to another plate or platter to cool.
  • Dry roast the rice and wheat till brown and fragrant and keep aside.
  • Dry roast the seeds one after another and transfer it to the platter containing the other ingredients.
  • Add the oil at this stage and allow it to heat up. Add the red chilies and fry for a few seconds. Add the asafetida and turmeric and fry till the raw smell is gone.
  • Take off the heat and combine it with all the other roasted ingredients and allow it to cool completely. 
  • Grind the roasted and cooled mixture in a blender to a fine powder and store in air tight containers.
Notes:
  • The whole wheat grain can be substituted with equal quantities of Lapsi or semolina.
  • The turmeric is an optional ingredient. You can skip it if you want to.
  • The quantity of the red chilies can be increased if you want this spice mix to be slightly spicy.

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